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pearl1

[purl] /pɜrl/
noun
1.
a smooth, rounded bead formed within the shells of certain mollusks and composed of the mineral aragonite or calcite in a matrix, deposited in concentric layers as a protective coating around an irritating foreign object: valued as a gem when lustrous and finely colored.
Compare cultured pearl.
2.
something resembling this, as various synthetic substances for use in costume jewelry.
3.
something similar in form, luster, etc., as a dewdrop or a capsule of medicine.
4.
something precious or choice; the finest example of anything:
pearls of wisdom.
5.
a very pale gray approaching white but commonly with a bluish tinge.
6.
mother-of-pearl:
a pearl-handled revolver.
7.
Printing. a 5-point type.
8.
Also called epithelial pearl. Pathology. a rounded mass of keratin occurring in certain carcinomas of the skin.
verb (used with object)
9.
to adorn or stud with or as with pearls.
10.
to make like pearls, as in form or color.
verb (used without object)
11.
to dive, fish, or search for pearls.
12.
to assume a pearllike form or appearance.
adjective
13.
resembling a pearl in form or color.
14.
of or relating to pearls:
pearl diving.
15.
set with a pearl or pearls or covered or inlaid with pearls or mother-of-pearl:
a pearl necklace.
16.
having or reduced to small, rounded grains.
Idioms
17.
cast pearls before swine, to offer or give something of great value to those incapable of appreciating it:
She read them Shakespeare but it was casting pearls before swine.
Origin of pearl1
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English perle < Middle French < Italian or assumed Vulgar Latin *perla (> German Perle, Old English pærl), for Latin *pernula (> Portuguese perola, perhaps Old Saxon përula), diminutive of Latin perna sea mussel
Related forms
pearler, noun
pearlish, adjective
pearllike, adjective

pearl2

[purl] /pɜrl/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), noun
1.
purl1 .

purl1

or pearl

[purl] /pɜrl/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
1.
to knit with a reverse stitch.
2.
to finish with loops or a looped edging.
noun
3.
a basic stitch in knitting, the reverse of the knit, formed by pulling a loop of the working yarn back through an existing stitch and then slipping that stitch off the needle.
Compare knit (def 11).
4.
one of a series of small loops along the edge of lace braid.
5.
thread made of twisted gold or silver wire.
Origin
1520-30; variant of obsolete or dial. pirl to twist (threads, etc.) into a cord
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pearling
Historical Examples
  • First of all, the poor creatures were taken to an island in the vicinity of North-West Cape, off which the pearling fleet lay.

  • Papeete is the centre of the pearling industry of the South Seas.

  • He wants me to go with his pearling schooner, and some other boats, to a place I think he calls Shark's Bay.

    The Second String Nat Gould
  • The pearling season had not turned out as well as had been expected of it.

  • Within three hours I'll be off on the pearling banks about my business, and I never heard of any lost steamer.

  • But you are more likely to go under at pearling than at racing.

    The Second String Nat Gould
  • The Scottish pearling beds have suffered great injury in historic times.

    Ancient Man in Britain Donald A. (Donald Alexander) Mackenzie
  • A big shark cruising around the pearling beds, killing men, and finally taking possession of an old wreck full o' treasure!

    The Pirate Shark Elliott Whitney
  • But you may be asking, what was I doing during these pearling expeditions?

  • There's not many men know more about pearling than Jacob, but he's awfully unlucky in some things, and never seems to make money.

    The Second String Nat Gould
British Dictionary definitions for pearling

pearl1

/pɜːl/
noun
1.
a hard smooth lustrous typically rounded structure occurring on the inner surface of the shell of a clam or oyster: consists of calcium carbonate secreted in layers around an invading particle such as a sand grain; much valued as a gem related adjectives margaric margaritic
2.
any artificial gem resembling this
4.
a person or thing that is like a pearl, esp in beauty or value
5.
a pale greyish-white colour, often with a bluish tinge
6.
a size of printer's type, approximately equal to 5 point
adjective
7.
of, made of, or set with pearl or mother-of-pearl
8.
having the shape or colour of a pearl
verb
9.
(transitive) to set with or as if with pearls
10.
to shape into or assume a pearl-like form or colour
11.
(intransitive) to dive or search for pearls
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin pernula (unattested), from Latin perna sea mussel

pearl2

/pɜːl/
noun, verb
1.
a variant spelling of purl1 (sense 2), purl1 (sense 3), purl1 (sense 5)

purl1

/pɜːl/
noun
1.
Also called purl stitch. a knitting stitch made by doing a plain stitch backwards
2.
a decorative border, as of lace
3.
gold or silver wire thread
verb
4.
to knit (a row or garment) in purl stitch
5.
to edge (something) with a purl
Also (for senses 2, 3, 5) pearl
Word Origin
C16: from dialect pirl to twist into a cord

purl2

/pɜːl/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (of a stream, etc) to flow with a gentle curling or rippling movement and a murmuring sound
noun
2.
a curling movement of water; eddy
3.
a murmuring sound, as of a shallow stream
Word Origin
C16: related to Norwegian purla to bubble
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pearling

pearl

n.

mid-13c., from Old French perle (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin perla (mid-13c.), of unknown origin. Perhaps from Vulgar Latin *pernula, diminutive of Latin perna, which in Sicily meant "pearl," earlier "sea-mussel," literally "ham, haunch, gammon," so called for the shape of the mollusk shells.

Other theories connect it with the root of pear, also somehow based on shape, or Latin pilula "globule," with dissimilation. The usual Latin word for "pearl" was margarita (see margarite).

For pearls before swine, see swine. Pearl Harbor translates Hawaiian Wai Momi, literally "pearl waters," so named for the pearl oysters found there; transferred sense of "effective sudden attack" is attested from 1942 (in reference to Dec. 7, 1941).

purl

v.

"knit with inverted stitches," 1825; earlier "embroider with gold or silver thread" (1520s), probably from Middle English pirlyng "revolving, twisting," of unknown origin. The two senses usually are taken as one word, but even this is not certain. Klein suggests a source in Italian pirolare "to twirl," from pirolo "top." As a noun, from late 14c. as "bordering, frills," 1530s as "twisted thread of gold and silver."

"flow with a murmuring sound," 1580s, imitative, perhaps from a Scandinavian language. Related: Purled; purling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pearling in Medicine

pearl (pûrl)
n.

  1. A small sphere of thin glass containing amyl nitrite or other volatile fluid, designed to be crushed, as in a handkerchief, so that its contents can be inhaled.

  2. Any of a number of small tough masses of mucus occurring in the sputum in asthma.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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pearling in Science
pearl
  (pûrl)   
A smooth, slightly iridescent, white or grayish rounded growth inside the shells of some mollusks. Pearls form as a reaction to the presence of a foreign particle, and consist of thin layers of mother-of-pearl that are deposited around the particle. The pearls of oysters are often valued as gems.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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pearling in the Bible

(Heb. gabish, Job 28:18; Gr. margarites, Matt. 7:6; 13:46; Rev. 21:21). The pearl oyster is found in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Its shell is the "mother of pearl," which is of great value for ornamental purposes (1 Tim. 2:9; Rev. 17:4). Each shell contains eight or ten pearls of various sizes.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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